Best NFL QBs the SEC Has Produced
The SEC is a factory for NFL talent that has produced some of the most talented quarterbacks to play in the pros.
Guys like Joe Namath and Peyton Manning will be remembered as some of the game’s best at the position. They won big in college and continued their success in the pros.
There are some players working on becoming future legends, but these names have solidified their legacies as the best quarterbacks in conference and NFL history.
This is a look at the best to depart the SEC and land in the NFL.
Bart Starr: Alabama Crimson Tide
After a less than illustrious career at Alabama, Bart Starr became a star quarterback in his 15 year career with the Green Bay Packers.
Star played sparingly throughout his time with the Crimson Tide, but he still managed to be drafted in 1956. He was selected in the 17th round of the draft that year.
He became a star once he landed in the pros.
Starr was a four time Pro Bowl selection, three time NFL champion, won two Super Bowl’s and was the Super Bowl MVP both years.
He was also ranked as the No. 51 player in NFL history by NFL.com.
Joe Namath: Alabama Crimson Tide
The legendary “Broadway Joe” was one of the most talented quarterbacks to take the field for Alabama.
He helped the Tide win the 1964 National Championship and posted a 29-4 record as a starter for Alabama.
He was drafted by the New York Jets into the AFL in 1965. He played for the Jets until 1976 and then departed for the St. Louis Rams, where he played for one season.
During the AFL years he helped guide the Jets to a Super Bowl title and won the MVP for his efforts in the game. He finished his NFL career with 27,663 passing yards and 173 touchdowns.
Kenny Stabler: Alabama Crimson Tide
Ken “The Snake” Stabler was a backup to Joe Namath at the beginning of his Alabama career, taking over as the starter his junior season.
Stabler put together a memorable run for the Tide and was selected in the second round of the 1968 draft by the Raiders. He earned four trips to the Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro on two occasions.
He also guided the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI. Stabler is a member of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade team. He finished his career with 27,938 passing yards and 194 touchdowns.
Peyton Manning: Tennessee Volunteers
Currently regarded as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Peyton Manning is already an NFL legend.
Manning played for the Tennessee Volunteers in college and became the all-time leading passer during his time there. He was selected No. 1 in the 1998 draft by the Colts, where he spent the majority of his career breaking a number of NFL records.
He was the fastest player to throw 400 touchdown passes and the fastest to hit 50,000 yards passing. He has been to the Pro Bowl 12 times, and has been the AP NFL MVP four times.
Currently with the Denver Broncos, Manning has accumulated 436 touchdown passes and 59,487 yards to date.
Manning is easily the best quarterback to have played in the SEC, and arguably the NFL.
Eli Manning: Ole Miss Rebels
Eli Manning was a star for Ole Miss during his college career, launching the Rebels back into the top of the SEC.
His best year came in 2003 when he led the Rebels to a 10-win season and a Cotton Bowl victory. He was then selected No. 1 in the 2004 draft by the New York Giants.
Since arriving in the NFL, the younger Manning has separated himself from his older brother. He doesn’t have the stats, but he has the titles.
Manning has won two Super Bowls with the Giants and is a three-time Pro Bowler.
He has accumulated 31,527 passing yards and 211 touchdowns since joining the pros, and has kept the Giants consistently in the playoffs discussion.
Bert Jones: LSU Tigers
Jones was selected with the No. 2 pick by the Baltimore Colts in the 1973 draft. He was an All-American for LSU and was a Heisman finalist in 1972.
He only started one full year for the Tigers, but that was enough to launch him into the NFL.
He was a Pro Bowl selection in 1976 and was an All-Pro selection the same year. He spent eight years as the Colts starter, but he failed to gain the notoriety of other former SEC greats.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, current NFL head coach Bill Belichick said that “As a pure passer I don't think I could put anybody ahead of Bert Jones.”
That’s a solid endorsement.
Fran Tarkenton: Georgia Bulldogs
The SEC has been loaded with stars over the years, but Fran Tarkenton is undoubtedly one of the best. He was drafted in the third round of the 1961 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, thus beginning his legendary career.
He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and won the 1975 MVP award.
Tarkenton was one of the first quarterbacks to scramble consistently, helping usher in the dual-threat quarterback concept to the NFL.
Over the years he played for the Vikings and New York Giants, accumulating 47,003 passing yards and 342 touchdowns.